Friday, December 16, 2011

Get Through That Lifting Plateau...

Found an interesting article on website...regarding muscle building/strengthening

The 28 Method: New Math For Major Muscle GainsThe 21s drill uses three variations (7 reps each) of a classic lift, but what do you do when three variations aren't enough?

Well, you try four. This is the 28 method.
More by Cory Gregory, Muscle Pharm Dec 14, 2011

Variations on exercise technique and reps shock the human musculature system. That's why we should switch routines, reps, and lifting order regularly. The 21s method for biceps shocked my system to a life-changing extreme, but the gains leveled off. Like any responsible bodybuilder, I made a slight change to a proven regimen to create variation and increase my gains.

You know the 21s drill - grab an EZ-Curl bar, perform seven reps going halfway up, seven more halfway down, and then finish it with seven full reps.

Well, I have something even better for you to tackle.

Like everyone else in lifting history, I took part in this great shock method, but I also started applying it to other muscle groups beyond my biceps. At a certain point, my body got used to this method and this technique. Then it no longer had the same impact. From that stagnation, my "28 method" was born; it takes 21s to an entirely different level.

If you're like me and find something missing when you do 21s, the "28 method" is certainly a step up. It might be precisely what you're looking for.

So, what exactly is the "28 method?"
Well, it's not complicated, but it just goes a step farther than doing 21s. To start, you do seven regular full reps with whatever weight you're using and whatever exercises you're performing.

The next step, though, is the most intense. With your muscles already fatigued, do seven slow reps. Slow in this case applies to both the eccentric and concentric part of the movement.

In your head, do a 5-count down and then another 5-count up, slowly lowering the weight and then slowly moving the weight back up. Believe me, this is the part that burns like crazy. From here, finish out the work with seven reps going halfway down with the movement, and another seven reps going halfway up - much like 21s.

So, it goes like this: Seven full reps, seven slow reps, seven reps at the top half of the movement, and then seven final reps at the bottom half of the movement, giving you 28 shirt-splitting reps.

Try three sets for each exercise and pick three exercises for a particular muscle group. Get ready for your muscles to scream in pain.

With just two minutes of rest between sets and the intense workload of the "28 method," you will obviously use significantly less weight for the movement.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

10 Fears That Keep People From the Gym


10 Surprising Fears That Keep People from the Gym
The gym is a portal to good health, but it can also be a scary place for a newcomer. Learn how to conquer your fitness fears with these expert tips

By: Mary Squillace

Scare Away Your Fitness Fears

Photo Credit:
A fear of flab might motivate many of us to go to the gym, but for some, fitness-related apprehension is a roadblock to starting a workout routine. According to a 2011 Mintel report, people who do not belong to gyms often cite “feeling out of place” as a reason for not joining. Jim White, RD, ACSM, owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, VA, says gym jitters are normal, but not insurmountable. “At first [new gym-goers] are nervous, but after one month they start losing weight and building confidence it’s like they own the place,” he says.

Here, White and Ruth Frechman, RD, ACE-certified personal trainer share tips for conquering common workout fears.

The Fastest Way to Sculpt a Hot Bod


“I can’t do a single pushup”
For newbies who don’t yet have the upper-body strength to perform a single pushup, the thought of attempting the move in front of strangers can be daunting. “I know people who won’t go to a gym until they feel like they’re fit, so they work out at home just to get fit enough to go to the gym,” White says.

Solution: Start with beginner modifications and then build up to the regular version. For example, you can perform the move with your knees on the floor or at an incline. “I’d also recommend [seeking] the advice of a personal trainer,” White says. “Your trainer can help you find other exercises to build strength.”

Search: Modified push ups


“I don’t want to get too bulky”
One of the biggest myths among women is that they’ll build too much bulk if they start working out, White says.

Solution: “Women need to trust that building lean muscle speeds metabolism, burns fat, and will contribute to building a nice body,” White says. Most women don’t produce enough testosterone to bulk up from a few gym sessions a week. While you may gain a few pounds early on due to the fact that muscle weighs more than the fat, you’ll lose weight in the long run. Research at the University of Alabama Birmingham found that women on a strength-training program for 25 weeks lost significant amounts of belly fat.

Learn how to do 619 exercises the right way with the Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises


“I don’t have time to get results”
A busy schedule and the perceived time commitment of exercise can definitely dissuade a gym-goer. “People think that unless they work out for an hour they won’t see results, so they feel like they [shouldn’t bother working] out at all,” Frechman says.

Solution: Do shorter workouts, but make them count. “Even 30 minutes of exercise will make a huge difference,” Frechman says. A study published in the Journal of Physiology has shown that short bursts of exercise with short recovery breaks in between—high-intensity interval training—has the same effect as longer endurance exercise on performance and muscular adaptations that reduce the risk of diseases, like type 2 diabetes. On a stationary bike, try doing 10 intervals of 1-minute sprints followed by 1 minute of rest, three times a week, and you’ll reap the same physical benefit as you would biking continuously at a less strenuous pace for several hours.

Try this free 20-minute fat-burning workout!


“I’m going to get hurt on the treadmill”
Though most people run on the treadmill without incident, horror stories about friction burns—or worse—might be enough to put you off the belt for good. “The treadmill can be intimidating, if you start too fast,” White says.

Solution: “Using the elliptical or bike might be a good start,” he says. “And, of course, have someone show you what to do.” Begin walking on the treadmill at a low speed—White suggests starting at 3.0 miles per hour. He also recommends using the manual mode instead of a program. “A program could kick in high gear when you’re not ready,” he says. “You want to have control over the treadmill, rather than it having control over you.”

Video: Feel the burn while watching your favorite shows with this treadmill TV workout


“I’ll get bored”
Activities such as lifting weights or running and cycling in place can seem monotonous at the outset. “Some people are so afraid of getting bored that they won’t even try to exercise,” Frechman says.

Solution: Variety’s key, according to Frechman. “Use the treadmill one day, bike one day and then do the elliptical another day.” Another option would be to sign up for a class that you really enjoy. “Being around others makes exercising more fun.”

15-Minute Workouts for Busy People


“I look fat”
Maybe the extra weight you’re carrying moved you to join a gym in the first place, but it can also be a source of insecurity that keeps you from ever going.

Solution: Check your worries at the door. Going to the gym is a big step toward building a fitter, trimmer body, and other gym-goers recognize that. Once you take those first steps to start exercising, you’ll find solidarity among fellow active individuals—your workout should really be a moment of pride, not shame!

5 Exercises That Blast Fat Better Than Plastic Surgery


“I’m going to get an infection”
Though relatively rare, staph infections—which are uncomfortable and potentially dangerous skin infections—can be picked up at the gym, where you’re in close contact with others and potentially contaminated surfaces such as the shower floors. “They can get nasty. It takes some people up to 6 months to recover [from a staph infection],” Frechman says.

Solution: If you have an open wound, cover it. Take advantage of the gym’s sanitizing spray bottles and wipes or put a towel down on the seat before sitting on the machine, Frechman urges. These measures can protect against serious infections and also prevent the spread of germs in general.

Do You Need to Detox Your Gym Gear?


“I won’t be able to stick with working out”
It sounds counterintuitive, but some people don’t want to start exercising because they’re afraid they’ll fail to keep it up, Frechman says.

Solution: She suggests making an exercise calendar and committing to working out on specific days. “Once you make a commitment, you’re more likely to continue going,” She says. “Treat it like a doctor’s appointment, because your health is important.”

Track your runs in this 12-week training log


“I don’t know where to start”
A newcomer’s first few gym experiences can be overwhelming, between the labyrinth of machines and seemingly endless exercise options, so it’s not surprising that many people have no idea where to begin.

Solution: Educate yourself. Pick up a book or magazine that explains muscle groups or start at home using a video to bolster your confidence. When you’re ready hit the gym, begin with 30 minutes of cardio 3 days a week and 30 minutes of weight training 3 days a week, which you can split up over 6 days, or pack into fewer days by combining your cardio and weight lifting routines.

Get your workout started on the right foot with this free 2-week personal training plan!


“I’m going to be sore”
You want a better body, but you don’t want to walk like Frankenstein for days after your first workout.

Solution: “[When you first start exercising], limit your time to 30 minutes so you don’t overexert yourself,” says Frechman. “And stretch after working out.” You might be a little sore after your first few workouts, but you shouldn’t be in debilitating pain. If you’re not sure how much exercise is too much, make arrangements to work with a personal trainer who can teach you how to do exercises without hurting yourself and help you understand your limits. Also be sure to build recovery days into your workout routine.

5 Pain-Relieving Yoga Poses


Copyright© 2011 Rodale Inc. "Fitbie" is a registered trademark of Rodale, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction, transmission or display is permitted without the written permission of Rodale, Inc.

Friday, October 14, 2011

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Protein Powders

Protein Powders (All You Ever Wanted to Know)
by Charles Poliquin
Date Released : 04 May 2011
Click here to comment on this article

One of the problems with American diets is a lack of high-quality protein. One reason is our obsession with poor-quality fast foods; another is lack of time. In a world where everyone is overwhelmed with a busy life, it often becomes difficult to find the time to prepare high-protein meals of fish, lean meats or eggs. This is especially true for bodybuilders and elite athletes who follow lifestyle programs that have them consuming five to six meals a day. One solution is to make health food shakes with added protein or to consume meal replacement products that are high in protein.

A great way to get a lot of high-quality protein quickly is with a shake with protein powder added. This product has an interesting history. The first type of protein powder was powdered milk, which has its roots in the Mongol people and their powerful leader, Genghis Khan. The Mongols would evaporate milk by allowing it to dry in the sun and would reportedly take the chalk-like substance with them on their long journeys of conquest. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, author Jack Weatherford suggests that a low-carb, high-protein diet with an emphasis on milk protein was one of the reasons for Khan’s success in battle:

“The Chinese noted with surprise and disgust the ability of the Mongol warriors to survive on little food and water for long periods; according to one, the entire army could camp without a single puff of smoke since they needed no fires to cook. Compared to the Jurched soldiers, the Mongols were much healthier and stronger. The Mongols consumed a steady diet of meat, milk, yogurt, and other dairy products, and they fought men who lived on gruel made from various grains. The grain diet of the peasant warriors stunted their bones, rotted their teeth, and left them weak and prone to disease. In contrast, the poorest Mongol soldier ate mostly protein, thereby giving him strong teeth and bones.”

Henri Nestlé was a pioneer in developing infant formulas, which helped lead to the development of modern meal replacement powders. (Photos courtesy Nestlé Corporate Media Relations)

The individual responsible for inventing the modern form of powdered milk was most likely Gail Borden, nicknamed “The Father of the Modern Dairy Industry.” In 1856 Borden received a patent for condensing milk that involved boiling the milk in airtight vacuum pans. In the early 1860s, the American Civil War created a huge demand for Borden’s product, and another market opened up in 1867 when Henri Nestlé added flour and sugar to powdered milk to create the first infant formula.

With today’s powdered milk there is little risk of bacterial contamination because of the lack of moisture. However, you need to pay attention to the expiration date of powdered milk and protein powders, as the proteins eventually oxidize, reducing their quality.

One benefit of powders is that they enable you to precisely follow a nutrition program. For example, when someone reduces calories to try to lose weight, his or her protein requirements increase. If you don’t get enough protein during a weight loss program, you can experience a loss of muscle mass. In addition, protein tends to help with food cravings because it helps stabilize blood sugar levels and creates a sense of fullness. Sure, drinking milk and eating steaks will give you protein, but they also give you a lot of fat and calories you may not want during a weight loss program.

Does Your Protein Measure Up?

One question we have to ask in any discussion about protein powders is “Why use milk as a source for protein in the first place?” There are many good reasons. The first reason to use milk in protein powders is simply because it contains a lot of protein. Beef, chicken and eggs are considered very concentrated sources of protein, but just one cup of milk contains as much protein as one ounce of beef or chicken – whereas a whole egg contains 6.5 grams of protein.

Another reason to use milk as a protein source is that it’s very digestible. Just because the label of a protein powder says it contains a certain amount of protein, that doesn’t necessarily mean your body can use all that protein. Of course there are protein powders made from soy, rice and even hemp seeds, but those proteins are of inferior quality. Let me explain.

There are several methods of ranking the quality of a protein, and one of the most recent is called the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAA). The highest value that a protein can receive in this type of measurement is 1.00. Milk and whole eggs earn a perfect score, and beef looks good at .92, but Mr. Peanut has no reason to smile, as he only earns a .52 score.

Of course, there are other ways to judge the protein quality of food, such as a measurement called biological value (BV) that looks at nitrogen retention and absorption. With this measurement, milk earns a score of 91 compared to whole eggs, which max out at 100; but milk still wins out over beef, which achieves a score of only 80. And with the plant proteins, you have to consider that these are considered incomplete proteins in that they must be combined with other sources of amino acids to be used by the body. For example, to make a complete protein source you can spread peanut butter on a rice cake.

Although this discussion has been primarily about powdered milk, I’d like to take it a step further and talk about whey protein. Milk contains two types of protein: casein and whey. Whey protein is higher in quality than casein; whey is equal to milk in PDCAA scoring and higher in BV, and during the separation process its lactose can be removed.

Lactose is a sugar that causes gastrointestinal distress in much of the world’s population. The enzyme that breaks down lactose is called lactase. If an individual is not producing enough lactase, the result is lactose intolerance. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea and even nausea. Lactose intolerance is one reason for the popularity of soy protein powders, but I have a laundry list of problems with using soy products, including its potential to reduce testosterone in men. It’s rare that a child is born with complete lactose intolerance, as the problem usually develops after adolescence. Taking a lactase supplement can help, but it’s easier to avoid lactose intolerance altogether by using whey protein powders.

When you go shopping for whey protein powders, you’ll see that they come in categories such as concentrates, isolates and hydrolysates. Isolates contain more protein and less fat than concentrates, and hydrolysates contain digestive enzymes. Isolates cost more than concentrates, and hydrolysates cost more than isolates.

With whey protein, the axiom “You get what you pay for” often holds true. I’ve always said that if you buy supplements from a discount store, you’re probably buying an inferior product that could be tainted with things you don’t want in your body – consider the recent lawsuit filed in California after high levels of the toxins known as PCBs were found in popular brands of fish oils. The best whey protein powders should be independently lab-tested for the following: whey protein authenticity, protein potency, melamine, solvent residue, heavy metals, herbicide and pesticide residue, stability, bacteria, yeast and mold counts.

The Case for Meal Replacements

Extending our discussion beyond protein powders, meal replacement shakes offer quality food ingredients in various combinations of the three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fats. And despite the name, meal replacements should only replace some meals – not all of them.

There are many reasons to use meal replacements, and there is legitimate scientific research to support their use. Two frequently cited studies looked at weight loss with meal replacements.

The March 2001 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association published the results of a yearlong study of 64 overweight women, ages 18 to 55, who expressed an interest in losing between 20 and 40 pounds. One of the unique characteristics of the women involved in this study is that all claimed they had been unsuccessful in changing their eating habits. The women were divided into two groups and were placed on 1,200-calorie diets. The control group was given a standard diet, while the other group consumed three milk-based, 220-calorie meal replacement drinks totaling 680 calories (meaning that the remaining 520 calories consumed were from whole foods, primarily fruits and vegetables). The result is that after three months, both groups lost 3-6 pounds, but at the end of 52 weeks the group that used the meal replacement product kept the weight off while the whole-food group regained the weight they had lost. Discipline in a can!

Published in October 2004 in the International Journal of Obesity were the results of a six-month study with 63 overweight subjects, 50 female and 12 male, with an average age of about 49 years. Their daily nutrition consisted of one whole-food meal per day and two milk-based meal replacement drinks, with a total daily intake of 800 to 1,800 calories. The subjects were instructed to walk three times a week for 30 minutes each session. Six months into the nutrition program, there was a mean decrease of seven percent body weight.

The meal replacements used in these studies were commercially available and had a high amount of sugar (220 calories and 34 grams of sugar); the ingredients in one brand consisted primarily of milk, cocoa and two types of sugar. But before getting into what constitutes a good meal replacement, let’s look at the origins of this type of product – which, incidentally, falls into the category of infant formulas.

The first infant formula was developed in 1867, consisting of cow’s milk, wheat flour, malt flour and potassium bicarbonate; the first soy formula was introduced in 1929. The most famous developer was Henri Nestlé (yes, that Nestlé, of Toll House cookie fame).

Born in Frankfort, Germany, Nestlé came from a family of 14 children, half of whom died before reaching adulthood. In the mid-1860s, Nestlé used his training in pharmacology to address the issue of infant mortality due to malnutrition by developing a healthy, economical alternative for mothers who could not breastfeed. With the help of nutritionist Jean Balthasar Schnetzler, Nestlé made the formula easier to digest by removing the acid and the starch in wheat flour. Nestlé called the new product Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé.

The early days of infant formula eventually involved into meal replacement powders for athletes, primarily bodybuilders. One of the most popular formulas among bodybuilders in the ’70s was called Blair’s Protein, developed by Irvin Johnson (who changed his name to Rheo H. Blair on the advice of an astrologer). It was a delicious mixture – described as having the taste of soft ice cream – and was reportedly the favorite of six Mr. Olympias. However, because it contained approximately 25 percent lactose, it often caused gastrointestinal distress.

The two major types of meal replacement formulas manufactured today use whey or soy as their primary protein source. One reason that soy was introduced to infant formulas was to deal with infants who are allergic to cow’s milk; however, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that infants who are allergic to cow’s milk should not be given soy milk because 50 percent of those who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to soy milk. Soy can be bad news, especially for men due to its effect in decreasing serum testosterone. To learn why soy is such a poor choice for a meal replacement, pick up a copy of Dr. Kaayla Daniel’s book The Whole Soy Story .

Although not as well known, one other option is pea protein. Pea protein has excellent digestibility (98 percent) and has an excellent array of amino acids, including high levels of BCAAs. It is particularly high in leucine, lysine, arginine, phenylalanine and tyrosine. And because pea protein has ACE inhibitory activity, it may have a positive effect on the maintenance of normal blood pressure levels. It has also been shown, in rat studies, to have a positive impact on total cholesterol and very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) by stimulating bile acid formation and excretion.

The concept behind using meal replacement powders is a good one, as they can be quickly and easily prepared and can provide precisely the nutrients you want. When you use nutrition/lifestyle protocols that involve several “feedings” a day, adequate food preparation becomes very difficult and time consuming.

I recommend that the majority of your calories come from whole foods, but this is a fast-paced world, so meal replacements and protein powders have a place as convenient ways to ensure you receive the highest-quality nutrition.

Daniel, K. T. (2005). The whole soy story: The dark side of America’s favorite health food. Washington, DC: NewTrends Publishing.

Frantz, J. B. (1951). Gail Borden: Dairyman to a nation. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

History [of Nestlé]. (n.d.). Retrieved from .

Huerta, S., Li, Z., Li, H. C., Hu, M. S., Yu, C. A., & Heber, D. (2004). Feasibility of a partial meal replacement plan for weight loss in low-income patients. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 28 (12), 1575-1579.

Rothacker, D. Q., Staniszewski, B. A., & Ellis, P. K. (2001, March). Liquid meal replacement vs traditional food: A potential model for women who cannot maintain eating habit change. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 101 (3), 345-347.

Weatherford, J. (2004). Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

9 Foods Not To Give Your Kids (or Yourself!!)

I found this article on website (originators of Brazilian Buttlift and P90x)


9 Foods Not to Give Your Kids
By Joe Wilkes
If you've followed the news on childhood obesity lately, you know the state of affairs is pretty grim. Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past two decades, and most signs point to the next generation being the first whose life expectancy will be shorter than their parents'. Much of the blame for this trend has deservedly been laid at the feet of the producers and marketers of unhealthy food aimed at our youngest consumers, whose parents face an uphill battle: trying to pit fresh, healthy foods devoid of mascots or sidekicks against superheroes and cartoon animals in a struggle to tempt their children's palates and stomachs.

Since most kids have hummingbird metabolisms that adults can only envy, it's often easy to give them a free pass and let them eat whatever they want. But eventually those metabolisms slow down and the pounds settle in. Also, as physical activity decreases and processed food intake increases annually, kids aren't burning calories the way their parents might have when they were their age. And even if the kids aren't getting fat, they are establishing eating habits they'll take into adulthood. As parents, you can help foster a love for healthy eating and exercise that will last your kids a lifetime—hopefully a long one!

Eating can so often be a classic power struggle where kids try to finally locate their mom and dad's last nerve. (I can remember family dinners with my brother and parents that could teach Hezbollah a thing or two about standoffs.) There are a number of strategies you can use to mitigate this type of deadlock. One is to let your kids help with the selection and preparation of the food. If they picked out the veggies at the farmers' market and helped cook them, they might be less inclined to feed them to the family pet. Another is to frame eating vegetables and healthy food as being its own reward. Otherwise, by offering dessert as a reward for finishing vegetables, you create a system where unhealthy food is a treat and healthy food sucks. With these thoughts in mind, let's take a look at some of the unhealthiest foods being marketed to your kids today, and some healthier alternatives you can offer to replace each of them.

Note: The following recommendations are for school-aged children. Infants and toddlers have different specific nutritional needs not addressed in this article.

Chicken nuggets/tenders. These popular kids' menu items are little nuggets of compressed fat, sodium, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and some form of chicken. Depending on the restaurant, chicken might not even be the first ingredient. Oftentimes, the nuggets or tenders are made of ground pieces of chicken meat and skin, pressed into a shape, flavored with HFCS and salt, and batter-fried in hydrogenated oil (the bad, trans-fatty stuff). Then, as if that weren't unhealthy enough, you dunk it in a HFCS- or mayonnaise-based sauce. With all the fat, salt, and sugar, it's easy to understand why they're tasty, but the nutritive value weighed against the huge amount of calories and fat consumed is incredibly lacking. Even healthier-sounding menu items can be deceiving, like McDonald's® Premium Breast Strips (5 pieces), which pack 640 calories and 38 grams of fat—and that's before you factor in the dipping sauce. (By comparison, a Big Mac® with sauce has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat.)
Instead: If you're cooking at home, grill a chicken breast and cut it into dipping-size pieces either with a knife or, for extra fun, cookie cutters. Make a healthy dipping sauce from HFCS-free ketchup, marinara sauce, mustard, or yogurt. Let your kids help make the shapes or mix up the sauce. Try and go without breading, but if you must, try dipping the chicken breast in a beaten egg, and then rolling it in cornflake crumbs before you bake it. It'll be crunchy and delicious, but not as fatty.

Sugary cereal. I can remember as a child, after going to friends' houses for overnights and being treated to breakfast cereals with marshmallows that turned the milk fluorescent pink or blue, feeling horribly deprived when faced with the less colorful and sugary options served up in my home kitchen. But now I can appreciate my mom and her unpopular brans and granolas. True, they didn't have any cartoon characters on the box or any toy surprises, but they also didn't have the cups of sugar, grams of fat, and hundreds of empty calories that these Saturday-morning staples are loaded with.
Instead: Read the labels and try to find cereal that's low in sugar and high in fiber and whole grains. Remember, "wheat" is not the same as "whole wheat." Also, avoid cereals (including some granolas) that have hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, or chemical preservatives. Add raisins, sliced bananas, berries, or other seasonal fruit to the cereal for extra flavor and nutrition. Again, letting your child help design a healthy bowl of cereal from choices you provide will get you a little more buy-in at the breakfast table.

Lunch meat and hot dogs. Kids love hot dogs, bologna, and other processed meats, but these are all full of potentially carcinogenic nitrates and nitrites, sodium, saturated fat, and artificial colors and fillers. A study in Los Angeles found that kids who ate 12 hot dogs a month had 9 times the risk of developing leukemia.1 And more health risks are being discovered all the time. Leaf through any research about kids' nutrition, and you're bound to read about the bane of the cafeteria—Oscar Mayer's Lunchables®. These and similar prepackaged lunches are loaded with processed meats and crackers made with hydrogenated oils. These innocent-looking meals can boast fat counts of up to 38 grams. That's as much fat as a Burger King® Whopper® and more than half the recommended daily allowance of fat for an adult.
Instead: Get unprocessed meats, like lean turkey breast, chicken, tuna, or roast beef. Use whole wheat bread for sandwiches; or if your kid's dying for Lunchables, fill a small plastic container with whole-grain, low-fat crackers, lean, unprocessed meat, and low-fat cheese. This can be another great time to get out the cookie cutters to make healthy sandwiches more fun. For hot dogs, read labels carefully. Turkey dogs are usually a good bet, but some are pumped up with a fair amount of chemicals and extra fat to disguise their fowl origins. Look for low levels of fat, low sodium, and a list of ingredients you recognize. There are some tasty veggie dogs on the market, although a good deal of trial and error may be involved for the choosy child.

Juice and juice-flavored drinks. Juice—what could be wrong with juice? While 100 percent juice is a good source of vitamin C, it doesn't have the fiber of whole fruit, and provides calories mostly from sugar and carbohydrates. Too much juice can lead to obesity and tooth decay, among other problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day for kids under 6, and 8 to 12 ounces for older kids. Juice drinks that aren't 100 percent juice are usually laced with artificial colors and that old standby, high fructose corn syrup, and should be avoided. Your best bet is to make your own juice from fresh, seasonal fruit. You won't have to worry about all the additives, and it's another way you can involve your kids in the cooking process. Let them design their own juice "cocktail."
Instead: Water is still the best thirst quencher. Explain the importance of good hydration to your kids, and try to set a good example yourself by carrying around a healthy reusable hard plastic or stainless steel water bottle. Get your kids used to carrying a small bottle of water in their backpack or attached to their bike. If they're very water averse, try water with a splash of fruit juice in it. But just a splash. The idea is to get your kids used to not having things be overly sweet, overly salty, or overly fatty. Another great beverage is milk. Growing kids need plenty of milk (or fortified nondairy milks, like soy or almond)—which is filled with nutrients, calcium, and (in the case of dairy and soy) protein—but they don't need too much fat, so choosing low-fat or nonfat options will help ensure that they get their milk without actually beginning to resemble a cow.

French fries. High in calories, high in fat, and high in sodium—and unsurprisingly the most popular "vegetable" among kids. Fries offer virtually none of the nutrients found in broccoli, carrots, spinach, or other veggies not cooked up in a deep fryer, and the fat they're fried in is often trans fat, the unhealthiest kind for the heart. To top it all off, studies are beginning to show cancer-causing properties from acrylamide, a toxic substance that is created when starchy foods like potatoes are heated to extreme temperatures. In some tests, the amount of acrylamide in French fries was 300 to 600 times higher than the amount the EPA allows in a glass of water.2
Instead: Vegetables like baby carrots, celery sticks, and other crudités are great options, but if potatoes must be had, there are some options that don't involve melting a brick of fat. A scooped-out potato skin with low-fat chili and a little cheese can provide lots of fiber and vitamins, with even higher amounts if the chili has beans. You can also try making baked fries, using slices of potato with a light brushing of olive oil. Or the classic baked potato could be a hit, with plain yogurt or cottage cheese instead of sour cream and butter.

Potato chips, Cheetos®, Doritos®, etc. These are full of fat, oftentimes saturated, and way more sodium than any child or adult should eat. Some chips also have the acrylamide problem discussed in #5, French fries, above. Also, watch out for innocent-seeming baked and low-fat chips that contain olestra or other fake fats and chemicals that could present health issues for kids.
Instead: Kids gotta snack, and in fact, since their stomachs are smaller, they aren't usually able to go as long between meals as adults. Cut-up vegetables are the best thing if your kids want to get their crunch on, but air-popped popcorn and some baked chips are okay, too. You can control how much salt goes on the popcorn, or involve your child in experimenting with other toppings like red pepper, Parmesan cheese, or dried herbs. Try making your own trail mix with your kids. They might be more excited to eat their own personal blend, and that way you can avoid certain store-bought trail mixes, which sometimes contain ingredients like chocolate chips and marshmallows that aren't exactly on the healthy snack trail.

Fruit leather. Many of these gelatinous snacks like roll-ups or fruit bites contain just a trace amount of fruit, but lots of sugar or HFCS and bright artificial colors. Don't be misled by all the products that include the word "fruit" on their box. Real fruit is in the produce section, not the candy aisle.
Instead: If your child doesn't show interest in fruit in its natural state, there are some ways you can make it more interesting without losing its nutritional value. For a healthy frozen treat, try filling ice-cube or frozen-pop trays with fruit juice, or freezing grapes. Or buy unflavored gelatin and mix it with fruit juice and/or pieces of fruit to make gelatin treats without the added sugar and color (let it solidify in big flat casserole dishes or roasting pans—another good time for the cookie cutters!) Try serving some raisins, dried apricots, apples, peaches, or other dried fruits that might give you that chewy, leathery texture without the sugar.

Doughnuts. These little deep-fried gobs of joy are favorites for kids and adults alike, but they are full of fat and trans-fatty acids, and of course, sugar. Toaster pastries, muffins, and cinnamon buns aren't much better. The worst thing about doughnuts and these other pastries, aside from their nutritional content, is that they're often presented to children as acceptable breakfast choices. These delicious deadlies need to be categorized properly—as desserts, to be eaten very sparingly. And you can't have dessert for breakfast.
Instead: Honestly, a slice of whole wheat toast spread with sugar-free fruit spread or peanut butter isn't going to get as many fans as a chocolate-filled Krispy Kreme® doughnut, but at some point, you have to stand firm. Be the cop who doesn't like doughnuts. Doughnuts—not for breakfast. Period.

Pizza. In moderation, pizza can be a fairly decent choice. If you order the right toppings, you can get in most of your food groups. The problem comes with processed meats like pepperoni and sausage, which add fat and nitrates/nitrites (see #3, Lunch meat and hot dogs, above); and the overabundance of cheese, which will also provide more calories and fat than a child needs.
Instead: Try making your own pizza with your kids. Use premade whole wheat crusts, or whole wheat tortillas, English muffins, or bread as a base. Then brush on HFCS-free sauce, and set up a workstation with healthy ingredients like diced chicken breast, sliced turkey dogs, and vegetables that each child can use to build his or her own pizza. Then sprinkle on a little cheese, bake, and serve. If your child gets used to eating pizza like this, delivery pizzas may seem unbearably greasy after awhile.

Someday your children will come to realize that caped men in tights and sponges who live under the sea might not have their best interests at heart when it comes to food. Until then, however, why not involve them in the process of selecting and preparing healthier alternatives? Some of these cleverly disguised wholesome foods might become their favorites. Who knows, they may even tempt some of the overgrown children among us!


1Peters J, et al. "Processed meats and risk of childhood leukemia (California, USA)" Cancer Causes & Control 5: 195-202, 1994

2Tareke E, Rydberg P, Karlsson P, et al. "Analysis of acrylamide, a carcinogen formed in heated foodstuffs" J. of Agri and Food Chem. 2002;50:4988-5006

Friday, September 16, 2011

10 Fat Burning Foods

10 Fat-Fighter Diet Foods For Cheese-Grater Abs

Freakishly Perfect Foods to Get You Shredded

by Pauline Nordin Aug 04, 2011

I'm convinced that you digest foods you love way better than foods you hate. Maybe that's why fatty, greasy and sugary foods stick to fat cells like rubber cement. The link between us is strong, and the fat attachment is even stronger. But what do we all want? Let me give you a's not fat.

That's why the Fighter Diet has worked for me like nothing else. Food is important to my body and to keeping my look all year round. And I can eat. So my diet has to give me foods I can eat a lot of without packing around extra weight.

Dieting is all about consistency. If you can't sustain your diet, then what's the point? You must enjoy the foods you eat on a daily basis. And I LOVE the foods in this list.

Here are 10 of my favorite Fighter Diet foods I want to share with you. It's not a huge list, but all of the items combine nutrition, taste and variety. You should try all of them and decide which foods can become your favorite diet staples.

These foods are ready to kick some serious butt—are you?
#1 Wheat Bran - Putting the "B-R-A-N" in "BRAINY" Foods
Wheat bran is a "free food" in the Fighter Diet. That means you don't count it as a source of calories - Score! According to the nutrition label on wheat bran, it's a different story with calories, just like any other grain. I'm a walking experiment with this, the Franken-Pauline of wheat bran, and my experience is that wheat bran goes through my body mostly intact. Count that as a free food, ladies and gents.

My advice is to eat wheat bran for breakfast instead of cereal or oatmeal. In fact, wheat bran creates a bigger serving size of "porridge" but with less calories. But don't eat it for every meal! You could end up robbing your body of important micronutrients like calcium and iron.

But take a quick look at some real nutrition info to back up this argument:

■1 cup of wheat bran: 120 calories.
■1 cup of oat bran: 230-245 calories.
■1 cup of oatmeal: 300-380 calories.
The choice is yours, but you'd be pretty dumb not to pick wheat bran, just saying.

Are those oats? I pity the fool!
#2 Cabbage - This Patch Is Not Just For Babies Anymore
This unassuming head of leafy goodness is actually an extremely nutritious member of the cruciferous vegetable family with siblings like broccoli, cauliflower, and bok choy (Chinese cabbage). With a nutrient profile that includes vitamin A, B6, C, thiamin, folate, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium - I mean, seriously, that is just ridiculous.

An entire cup of shredded cabbage only has 16 calories and 2 grams of fiber. Cabbage is also a hidden agent of helping to prevent cancer and reduce estrogen, and I'm betting that it also helps block the effect of xenoestrogens as well.

Some people even stick to a whole diet of cabbage soup, by choice and not because of budget. Of course I would never recommend that, but I can see why people love it! I like to eat mine shredded and mixed with mustard and stevia.

#3 Pistachios - Squirrel Away Your Time with Healthy Fats
Pistachios contain monounsaturated fats just like olives, which is reason enough to eat them! And, oh yeah, they are delicious. But the real reason I love them is that you can usually pick these puppies up in the shell, forcing you to take the time to get the food out of there! This slows you down, and you can enjoy eating each nut for a little longer.

It's best to eat them raw and unprocessed. And although I do love them roasted and salted, I almost never eat them that way. Heating nuts destroys some of the healthy fats and can increase nasty free radicals. Also, salted and/or roasted foods tend to trigger my appetite and cravings.

#4 Shirataki Noodles - The Perfect Pasta Replacement
Let's get one thing straight: I love pasta. But pasta loves me back, so if I were to eat it I'd need a huge bowl of it, saddling me with thousands of calories! Yes, I have a big appetite, and I love food. So I don't even like being within 10 feet of pasta. It's just not an option. That's why Shirataki noodles have come to my rescue.

What in the world are Shirataki noodles? Well, they look like regular rice noodles but they are actually made from Konjac flour, which is processed from a yam-like plant that grows in Asia. Konjac is full of glucomannan fiber, which basically means that Shirataki noodles are a calorie free food in the Fighter Diet!

I eat these darling noodles daily. Recently, my favorite dinner idea is to mix Shirataki noodles with melted fat-free cheese (I'll talk about this amazing food later on). I swear it feels like I'm in cheesy-noodle heaven. Needles to say, it's been on my dinner menu for 10 days straight.

#5 Non-fat Greek Yogurt - Helping You Get Spartan-Like Abs
Yes, it does matter that this yogurt has a nationality. There is a big difference between regular non-fat yogurt and plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. Let's do a quick comparison. One 6 oz container of Chobani plain, non-fat Greek yogurt is only 100 calories, 7 grams of carbs and 18 grams of protein.

Run that up against 8 oz of Nancy's plain, non-fat yogurt with 120 calories, 17 grams of carbs, and only 12 grams of protein. I'm going to call that a KO. Sorry Nancy, your yogurt does not cut it for the fighter diet. My favorite brands of non-fat Greek yogurt are Chobani or Danone.

Okay people, I know a lot of you are terrified of any sugars, especially dairy. But listen up, because carbs do not make you fat all by themselves. Carbs help you recover, rebuild, and maintain your lean muscle mass! The key is to make sure you choose plain yogurt and watch your servings. Greek yogurt is not a free food by any means.

Dairy may also release insulin more than some other proteins like chicken and meat. But that means it's great for a post-workout snack. Do not fall for the fruit or flavored versions! Those demons have plenty of added sugars, and yogurt already contains milk-sugars when it's plain!

Eat Greek yogurt, get the body of a Greek Goddess.

#6 Winter Squash - Sweet Post-Workout Bliss
A variety of starchy vegetables fall under the name "winter squash." Carrots, butternut squash, Kabocha (Japanese winter squash), beets, turnips and jicama all have more carbs and calories than the other vegetables. Why are they included in the Fighter Diet? Because they are perfect for re-feeds or those wonderful days when I treat myself to higher carbs. They also replace potatoes really well.

I love these goodies, especially when I bake them and smother with cinnamon and Truvia (my preferred brand of the zero-calorie, natural sweetener Stevia). Winter squash veggies also tend to be fast carbs. Therefore, naturally they are great for post-workout nutrition.

#7 Pink Salmon - A Billion Times Better Than Tuna
Tuna and bodybuilding usually go hand in hand, but not for me. Pink salmon is a better option. It's not as chock-full of mercury as canned tuna, because pink salmon are caught when they're younger. Hence, way better for your liver while still providing all the protein and healthy fat.

Don't confuse regular salmon with pink salmon. They don't have the same nutritional value at all. Red salmon is fatty and calorie rich, while pink salmon is closer to tuna in nutrient breakdown. I choose canned, normally, but it's even better when pink salmon comes in pouches-so very convenient! Even on airplanes you can sneak one in, open it up, and nobody will nag you about the smell.

My favorite brand is Rainforest Trading. Three oz of canned pink salmon has 106.8 calories, 21.3 grams of protein and 2.3 grams of fat. Tuna, on the other hand, has 91 calories, 21.7 grams of protein and 0.7 grams of fat.

When it comes to eating fish, always think PINK.
#8 Fat-Free Natural Cheese - Best Guilt-Free Cheat Food
Yes, I know the old myth about dairy, which is that it promotes water retention. I also know that many competitors stop using dairy when they diet down for a show. I beg to differ! I like my fat-free dairy, and I love fat-free cheese.

I stay shredded 365 days a year, and yes, I get bloated now and then too - Hello, PMS, it's not ever nice to meet you - and I never blame fat-free cheese for that. If it was a full-fat, fried camembert then I could admit it was the cheese that fattened me up.

However, the fat-free cheese I buy from Lifetime Cheese has no crazy fillers, no hidden trans fat and it actually melts! Have you ever tried to melt Kraft's fat-free cheese? It's a hideous experiment but kind of entertaining to watch the "cheese" particles curl up into off-color, plastic-like strings. Ew.

I use Lifetime fat-free cheese with my Shirataki noodles, put it in the microwave oven, and voila - homemade mac & cheese. And you can eat this stuff without getting cheese on the thighs! A pack of this one gives you 63 grams of protein and very few carbs.

(Fighter Diet discount 15% for orders of 24 or fewer bars, and a 25% discount for orders of 24 or more bars! Write "FD" in the shipping field.)

#9 Mustard - The 6th Food Group
Mustard is not just a condiment, not for me. I eat it like a sauce or even like it is its own food group. Mustard is another free food in the Fighter Diet concept, so when you pour it over your cabbage like I do, you just skip counting the calories!

Here are some tips on buying and using mustard. First, do not buy anything labelled "honey mustard" and always read the ingredients list! Some companies try to fatten us up by adding sugar to mustard and calling it "sweet & spicy." Instead, I make my own sweet 'n sour mustard by mixing it with some Stevia. It is delicious! Right now I'm on a kick with Woeber's jalapeno mustard.

More reasons I love mustard: It's an excellent immune system booster and gives you some of the benefits of curcumin. Ever heard of the anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin? Well, it's increasing in popularity as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Anybody who takes training seriously will be fighting free radicals inside their body. Doesn't it just blow your mind that mustard can help? It's naturally rich in curcumin, which comes from turmeric and gives mustard its yellow color.

I know you must be curious about how I decided that mustard is calorie free. Well, I tried to eat a bottle of it every day for months just to see what happened. I got leaner! Day after day I downed about a bottle, which equals an estimated 300 calories, according to the label. The mustard seemed to boost my metabolism and some of it came out the natural way. Yes, there's a TMI for you, too much information, but you asked for it and I delivered.

CondimentsAdd some healthy pizzazz to your meals! Our sugar-free and low-fat condiments taste great and won't ruin your diet!

Add some guilt-free condiments today #10 Cocoa Powder - Get Your Chocolate Fix with Antioxidant Benefits
Cocoa powder is known to be rich in antioxidants. But hello, we don't eat chocolate for that! We indulge in it because chocolate is cocaine to the soul. So the challenge is to make it healthy. Really, it's pretty easy.

I mix cocoa powder with vp2 chocolate protein powder, fat-free quark (a super low-calorie substitute for cream cheese or sour cream), nutra fiber (made from sugar beets and a great source of fiber) and stevia. It's my choco-treat, and I eat it for dessert pretty much daily until I get fed up with chocolate, which really only happens once every blue moon.

Start Your Feeding Frenzy and Rev Your Metabolism
If you can't tell, the foods on my Fighter Diet list (this isn't all of them) not only taste amazing but they also help you burn fat and build muscle. They can help kill that feeling like you're cheating on your diet, while you get shredded. Start adding these foods to your diet and you'll never want to go off this diet.

For more FD foods, check out the FD Pyramid ebook!

Recommended Articles
Cabbage Soup Diet: Controversial In Promising Quick Fat Loss
8 Ways To Prepare Tuna: Never Be Bored Again
Turmeric: Is It The Next Miracle Herb?

About The Author
Pauline Nordin
VIEW AUTHOR PAGEWhen I work out, my ambition is to push my body harder and harder every time to see how much it can take how much pressure it can stand Pauline Nordin
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Secrests to Getting Motivated

A great article from

7 Secrets to Get Motivated for a Workout
Pete Williams September 6, 2011

Dave Cruz

Maintaining motivation in a training program can be a challenge no matter your experience level. There will be days when you just don’t feel motivated to train and periods where it’s tempting to slack off. Here are seven secrets to get motivated to work out.

1. Be accountable
It’s easy to blow off a workout when nobody is expecting you to show. It’s a lot tougher to do so when you have a workout partner or training group expecting you. “The social aspect of working out helps for a lot of people in general,” says Kevin Elsey, director of the performance innovation team at Athletes’ Performance. “But it also can provide the accountability you need to stay motivated.”

2. Downsize your workout
As an endurance athlete and coach, Jessi Stensland knows what it’s like to face an ambitious workout on a day when the drive and energy level isn’t there. Rather than punt completely, she suggests downgrading your plan to something shorter or less strenuous. “Maybe you were planning a long run,” Stensland says. “Why not do Movement Prep instead of nothing? At least you’ll have that benefit and a sense of accomplishment.” Once you’ve started, you might find the energy level kicking in and be able to tackle your original workout. Stensland draws an analogy between this phenomenon and interval training. “There are times after one hard interval where you cannot imagine doing another,” she says. “But after your heart rate comes down and you’re relaxed, you’re ready to go again.”

3. Plan ahead
It’s easy to rationalize missing a workout because you forgot your clothes or don’t have time to rush home to get workout gear. Stay motivated and on course by laying clothes out the night before and keeping extra gear in your car or under the desk. “What can you do to remove as many barriers as possible to staying motivated?” Elsey says. “Whether it’s bringing a gym bag with clothes or having proper nutrition planned, do all of the prep work when you are sufficiently motivated.”

4. Attach a deadline
Training for a specific race or competition brings about a sense of urgency, keeping you motivated and less likely to skip a workout. By signing up for an event well in advance, you’ve also made a financial commitment, no small consideration given the ever-escalating costs of running, triathlon, and other events. Once you’ve signed up, let everyone know. This keeps you motivated since you’ve publicly pledged to do it. “Sports becomes a social-tribal kind of thing,” says Jerry Napp, an exercise physiologist and certified USA Triathlon coach in Tarpon Springs, Fla. “It’s always motivating to see how you’re going to do within your tribe.”

5. Mix it up
One of the biggest trends in participatory sports in 2011 is the popularity of obstacle mud runs. Races such as the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash draw thousands to participate in races that include a dozen obstacles spread out over a 3- to 12-mile course. Athletes do not know what’s coming next. The last thing you want to do is make your training routine. Be sure to vary your training to constantly stimulate your body. If you follow one of the online Core Performance training programs, use the “exchange movement” button in your workout to swap in an alternative exercise to continually challenge yourself and keep your training fresh.

6. Track your progress
The growth of children is more evident to a relative who sees them only a few times a year than it is to a parent. By the same token, it’s easy to overlook incremental progress. That’s one of many reasons it’s important to track your progress over weeks, months—even years. Like investing, seeing that progress helps keep you motivated and on track. Here are four ways to track your progress.

7. Find your rhythm
Maybe you’re not lacking motivation, just timing. Some people will never be “morning people” while others know that if they don’t do their workout in the morning, it will never happen. Some people can’t imagine training after a long day at work while others need that time to de-stress before heading home. “Once you discover when you’re most motivated to train, that’s going to knock down another barrier for you and help you stay motivated,” Elsey says.

About The Author
Pete Williams – Pete Williams is a contributing writer for and the co-author of the Core Performance book series.

Read Full Bio

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Here we go again! Another RBS 8-week challenge with the emphasis being on fat-loss compared to body weight. On this blog you'll find ideas, links, etc. that can help. I also am recommending the Zone Diet to most can get the book or do an internet search to get more ideas--also, I have a simplified print-out I can give you if interested.

Good luck and check your e-mail and this website for updates and discussions!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Healthy Summer Tips

Live Better
15 Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Summer
June 29, 2011
courtesy of

Summer weekends at the beach, backyard barbecues, and outdoor dinners are finally here, but these gatherings are often loaded with high-calorie pasta salads, chips, ice cream, cocktails and beers. Enjoy your warm weather favorites while keeping your nutrition in check with the tips below.

1. Drink green tea instead of sweet tea. Green tea has a natural component that helps speed up your metabolism. Skip the box tea and opt for the brew-it-yourself with boiling water and a tea-bag-type tea.

2. Serve seafood. Summer is the ideal time to get the freshest catch from your local grocer. Grill salmon, tuna, lobster, steamer clams, and calamari for a low-calorie, protein-packed lunch or dinner.

3. Don’t skip breakfast. When you wake up in the morning, your body is running on fumes. Eating a breakfast with protein, carbs, and healthy fat kicks your metabolism into high gear and provides energy for the day.

4. Enjoy summer fruits and veggies. It’s easy to sink into a vegetable rut, eating the same boring veggies week after week, but with summer comes fresh choices. Including a mix of in-season colorful veggies in your meals gives your body a nutrient kick.

5. Snack at work. Bring snacks to work and graze throughout the day. When you eat more often—five to six times per day—you’re far less likely to overeat and more likely to stay energized.

6. Grab a sports drink. For workouts lasting longer than 45 minutes, drinking a sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes can help you maintain energy, increase endurance, and stay hydrated.

7. Drink healthier beers. If you're going to indulge, opt for antioxidant-packed craft brews like Fuller's Organic Honey Dew Ale or Stoudt's Fat Dog Imperial Oatmeal Stout. To save calories, choose beers with less than 100 calories like Select 55 and Miller Lite.

8. Hydrate often. The summer heat makes you more susceptible to dehydration. Start off your day by drinking two glasses of water and keep drinking at each meal, as well as before and after your workout, to stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to stay hydrated.

9. Cook meals together. Involve your friends and family in your healthy lifestyle this summer. A simple way to start: Plan meals, shop, and cook with your spouse and kids.

10. Downsize your dinnerware. We’re not talking about buying new plates, just using the smaller ones in your set for meals like lunch and dinner. Cornell University researchers found that by switching from 12- to 10-inch plates anyone can reduce calorie consumption by 20 to 22 percent and lose nearly two pounds per month. And that’s without changing any other aspect of your diet.

11. Recover with a post-workout shake. After exercising, blend your favorite summer fruits and a scoop of whey protein into a shake to kickstart the muscle-building process, help your body recover from training, and boost your energy levels. Try one of these shake recipes.

12. Pre-plan your meals. You plan your weekend getaways and activities for summer. Why not your meals? Make it easy by preparing all of your food on Sunday so that you have enough meals for the week. The best part: You'll save money.

13. Eat healthy at the beach. Ice cream stands and high-calorie barbecues are bound to put a damper on your diet, so stay clear of these temptations by being prepared. Pack a cooler with ice, bottled water, sandwiches on whole grain breads, pita chips, hummus, yogurt and lots of fruit. You’ll feel healthier and happier after your day at the beach.

14. Give your house a summer cleaning. You need an environment that reflects your healthy way of living and your summer fitness goals. To start, remove unhealthy foods from your home (so you’re not tempted). While you’re at it, stock your office with fruit, nuts, and other healthy snacks.

15. Build a better burger. Create a healthier burger with whole wheat buns, lean meats, and delicious toppings like pineapple, wasabi, guacamole, and feta cheese. Try one of these healthy burger recipes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shiratake Noodles...a Great Substitution for Carbs

Low Carb Diets..Shirataki Noodles: What They Are and Where to Get Them
By Laura Dolson, Guide
Updated June 10, 2011 Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board
Tofu Shirataki Noodles
Image Courtesy House Foods America Shirataki noodles were originally developed in Asia, but they have recently come to the attention of people around the world. Because these noodles are almost totally a beneficial type of fiber1, they have almost no "bad" carbohydrates. There are some indications that they may have other health benefits as well.
How Shirataki Noodles Are Made:
Shirataki comes from the root of a plant (Amorphophallus Konjac, or a few other closely-related species) grown in various parts of Asia, and given many names in different places, including Konnyaku potato (or just konnyaku), konjac, konjaku, elephant yam (although as far as I can tell, they are not related to any other plant commonly called “yam”), and others. The fiber is also known as glucomannan.
Benefits of Shirataki Noodles:
There is some evidence that glucomannan, when tested as a powdered supplement, can play a role in blood sugar control, as well as improve cholesterol control and weight loss (see this report2). It also contributes to fiber intake and can be a substitute for starchy noodles.
Tofu Shirataki Noodles:
Shirataki noodles tend to be a bit “rubbery.” Although this can be somewhat reduced by a short period of boiling, one food developer found that adding tofu to the shirataki produced a “tamer” texture. It also adds a bit of protein and carbohydrate (1 gram protein and 3 grams carbohydrate per serving). This product is a little easier to find, at least in my area, than plain shirataki noodles.
How to Use Them:
Shirataki noodles are great in Asian noodle dishes3, but people have used them in lots of other ways. Finalists in a recipe contest4 used them in desserts, salads and patties.
More Recipes:

•Pasta With Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce5
•Quick Chicken Alfredo with Shirataki Noodles6
•Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Basil7
•Turkey Tetrazinni8
How They Are Packaged:
Shirataki noodles come "wet" - packed in liquid. They are ready to eat out of the package. I usually just rinse them under hot water, cut them up a few times with kitchen shears, and add them to the dish I'm cooking.
As referred to above, the glucomannan powder can be taken in capsules as a supplement. Speak with your doctor before starting any new supplements.
How Shirataki Noodles Taste:
Shirataki noodles don't have a real taste of their own. Although in some cases, the liquid they come in does have a (hard to describe) flavor, I find this can be easily washed off, though some people like to use a short period of boiling.
Where to Find Them:
More Asian grocery stores carry shirataki noodles under one of the names above. They are also getting easier to find in areas with a smaller Asian population. The Safeway near me carries them (in the refrigerator case near the bagged salad greens), as well as health food stores. They will always be in a refrigerated case.

Online: Quite a few different vendors online also have them in stock, including Lo Carb-U Foods9 and Miracle Noodle10. A search will reveal more.This page has been optimized for print. To view this page in its original form, please visit:

©2011, Inc., a part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.


Links in this article:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

USDA Replaces Food Pyramid With a Plate

USDA Replaces Food Pyramid With a Plate
June 1, 2011 at 8:19AM by Justine Sterling |
First lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the USDA will throw out its famous food pyramid (also known as MyPyramid) and replace it with MyPlate.

The USDA's food guide has had many looks throughout the years. From 1958 to 1979, the guide was a rectangle that had the "basic four" food groups blocked out: dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables, and breads and cereals. In 1979, a stacked diagram was introduced. It placed fruits and vegetables on the top and meat products on the bottom. Only a year later, the USDA conducted research for a new image after producers of the foods that were placed on the bottom began protesting. The new design was released in 1991 — and then promptly withdrawn and redesigned due to pressures from the meat industry, whose product was recommended only in small quantities. In 1992, the Food Guide Pyramid was released (see right). This pyramid was met with anger from nutritionists, who said it encouraged eating too much grain, which, in turn, encouraged obesity. In 2005, the USDA replaced it with the current symbol: MyPyramid (see left). This version did not favor any of the food groups and also noted the importance of physical activity. Everyone was happy. So why change it now?

In an interview with WebMD, Robert C. Post, deputy director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, said MyPyramid was failing to capture the public's attention. The new symbol for the USDA's food guide is meant to inspire the public and actively lead people to make the correct eating choices, particularly in supermarkets and restaurants. The New York Times reports that the pyramid's replacement will be a "plate-shaped symbol, sliced into wedges for the basic food groups and half-filled with fruits and vegetables." The wedges will be color coded for fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein. According to the Times , there will be a smaller plate next to the large plate that represents dairy. The new symbol is designed to be easily understood at a glance. In his WebMD interview, Mr. Post explained that the new guide will "give people the tools and the opportunities to take action."

Don't confuse this new plate with the proposed vegetarian Power Plate that was in the news in January. This plate comes from the top and is an original construction. Only a few are aware of its exact composition.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

7 Ways to Ease Pain and Avoid Injury

**A good article from regarding regeneration of the body after long, hard workouts**

7 Ways to Ease Pain and Avoid Injury
December 10, 2008

Dave Cruz

Everything you do in the gym, at work, and at home either makes you more susceptible to injury or helps reduce your risk for pain. Tip the scales in your favor with these seven simple tips.

1. Straighten Up
Most people realize there's potential for injury when moving or performing an athletic activity, but what you may not realize is that poor posture can have similar if not more detrimental effects on your body than sports and exercise.

When you slouch, lock your knees, or sit with your head forward, for instance, you place unnecessary stress on areas of the body that were never built to handle it. Over time, your muscles will tighten from trying to compensate for poor posture and your joints will ache from the excessive stress placed on them. So what's the fix?

■Sit up straight, but keep your back naturally arched—your back's natural curve is meant to help transfer force
■Keep your ears aligned with your shoulders, hips and ankle bones when sitting or standing
■Avoid hours of the same posture—try to change your position as often as possible.
2. Invest 5 minutes a Day in Injury Avoidance
We all live busy lives, but what’s more important than your health? Don't wait to think about your body until it lets you down. That's like thinking about retirement when you're broke. You spend time and effort investing your money to achieve a great return. So invest in your body with proactive exercise, or what we call "prehab." To get started, use Floor Y's and T's to help protect your upper body, mini band walks for your lower body, and pillar bridges for core stability.

3. Stay in Control of Your Body
Flexibility is not only movement through a range of motion, but it is the ability to control the movement through the range. Without neuromuscular control, range of motion is useless. Think of a fast car that can handle successive curves on a road. If the car did not have the appropriate braking and accelerating actions, the drive would not be smooth or safe. The same concept applies to movement in the human body. The greater the flexibility you have, the more coordinated strength you need to direct your movement appropriately. Get started with this flexibility routine.

4. Wake Up Your Muscles
Injury is often caused by one muscle group—often times, your glutes or shoulder stabilizers—being completely shut off. This causes other areas of the body to compensate, leading to injury. Following your movement preparation program will activate these inactive areas and enable your body to recall movements you may have not used since childhood.

5. Pay Attention to Your Feet
Improving the strength of your foot intrinsic muscles (the small, stabilizing muscles) will build a greater base for movement. On the other hand, lack of foot intrinsic strength will lead to inefficient movement patterns, placing excessive stress on the foot, ankle, knee, hip and low back. To check the status of your arch, see if the inside bones of your feet touch the ground. If they do, you can benefit from simple exercises to support your arch. Here are a couple:

Towel Crunches

■Sit in a chair with feet flat on the ground with toes pointing straight ahead.
■Then, place a towel under feet and curl toes trying to pull towel under foot while rolling feet out to lift arch up.
■Go for 1 minute, and repeat a total of 3 times.
Tennis Ball Foot Massage

■Place your foot on top of the ball and slowly apply pressure as you roll your foot over it. You may find some tender spots. That's OK.
■Apply enough pressure so it's a little uncomfortable, but not painful.
■Do this for about 5 minutes on each foot once a day.
6. Stay on the Lookout for Warning Signs
Pay attention to the small aches and pains that creep up in your training. They’re usually a red flag that some part of your training is not being performed correctly. It may be related to training intensity, mechanics (compensations), or slight positional faults. Ignoring them can only lead to bigger problems that may significantly impact your training later on. You’re probably already aware of your weaknesses. Start training them.

7. Follow a Real Plan
Performing workouts at random can result in injury if your training is unbalanced. You may strengthen some muscles at the expense of others, creating imbalances that result in pain or injury. So set long term goals to help set your motivation in place and help define direction and purpose in your training, but also set specific, clear, short-term goals to guide and focus you along the way. At the end of each day, ask yourself, "Did I move closer to my goal today?”

Monday, February 28, 2011

4 Things Women Should Do In Their Training -- But Aren't

Licensed from
4 Things Women Should Be Doing in Their Fitness Training—But Aren’t
By Chelsea Bush, US News
Wed, Feb 23, 2011

If your workouts consist of doing light weights and steady-state cardio, you might be in for some bad news: These things alone won’t likely get you the results you’re after, say experts. To increase your fitness level, burn fat, and improve muscle tone, you’ve got to step up your game.

Here are four things women tend to skip that can deliver serious results.

1. High-intensity training.

All that time coasting on the elliptical at a comfortable pace probably hasn’t done much for your body, says Panama-based trainer Belinda Benn, creator of the Breakthrough Physique home fitness system. In fact, the biggest mistake women make in their training is not exercising with enough intensity, she says.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is typically a 10- to 20-minute workout that alternates short, intense bursts of activity with moderate-exertion recovery periods. “High-intensity interval training is the best way to improve your overall fitness, burn fat, and stimulate your hormones for a stronger body,” says Benn.

How to tell if you’re training hard enough? Look to your body for clues, Benn says. Good indicators are sweating, increased heart rate, and lactic acid production (i.e., feeling the “burn”) during exercise. Moderate muscle soreness for up to a few days post-workout is also a good sign. “If you feel nothing,” Benn says, “you probably didn’t work out hard enough.”

2. Heavier lifting.

For most women, a typical weight-training session equals light dumbbell exercises, says Toronto-based strength and conditioning specialist Craig Ballantyne, creator of the Turbulence Training Program. But doing fewer reps with more weight—say, 8 reps per set with a 15-pound dumbbell, instead of 15 reps with an 8-pound one—will burn more fat, he says. Lifting heavier will also increase your strength and muscle definition.

Start by swapping out your normal weights for slightly heavier ones, and gradually work your way up.

3. Upper body workouts.

Women tend to store body fat around the waist, hips, and thighs, so that’s where they typically focus their exercise efforts—neglecting their upper bodies, Benn says.

But you can’t spot-reduce fat, and sticking with what’s easy can stunt your progress, says Benn. Because you may feel weak while attempting pull-ups for the first time, Benn suggests doing the hard stuff at the start of your workout, “when you’re freshest and feeling mentally strong.”

“Focusing on underdeveloped muscles will improve the contours of your body,” Benn says.

4. Training with a barbell.

Think barbells are synonymous with back-breaking chest presses? Not so. “You can do a tremendous workout just with a barbell,” Benn says. “If you’re holding a bar rather than using two separate weights, it forces you to get your body in sync.”

Barbells are great for both upper- and lower-body exercises. Balancing one across your shoulders while doing squats, lunges, or walking lunges helps develop posture and balance, Benn says.

If you’re flirting with a barbell for the first time, go as light as you need to. Even 10 pounds is a good start.

Bonus tip:

If you’re worried you’ll bulk up with any of these exercises, consider your body type. Benn says women generally fall into two categories: those who build muscle easily, and those who don’t. If you build muscle easily, she suggests emphasizing high-intensity exercises. If you develop muscle slowly, you’ll benefit from spending more time on heavy lifting.

Chelsea Bush writes for AskFitnessCoach, a site that promotes a down-to-earth approach to fitness and weight loss.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


How to Pick the Right Marathon for You

By Patrick McCrann
Marathon Nation

The challenge of running and racing a marathon is a singular pursuit. Before you even start, you know that you'll have highs and lows, obstacles to overcome, and inevitable suffering--followed by euphoria--on race day. With all of this ahead of you, it makes sense to pick the right marathon. No 26.2 miles is the same, and not all races are created equal. Some are big, others are small. Some are epic tests, others are (literally) a "walk" in the park. Finding the right race that syncs with your goals, abilities, and geographical location can go a long way towards ensuring you are able to run to your potential.

The Four Factors
Before we even get to your particular goals, it helps to take a macro level review of where you stand. Here are the four key areas we suggest you consider when picking your next race:

#1 -- Timing: The ideal marathon will give you at least three months of good outdoor running prior to race day. It will fall on a quiet time of year for you, either personally or professionally. There will be options for half marathons and other local running events that will keep you motivated and on track. You will have had at least 4 if not 8 weeks of downtime from your previous big race, so residual fatigue isn't an issue.

#2 -- Terrain: You might love the punishment of steep hills and oxygen-starved air; perhaps your crave epic scenery or the taste of travel to another part of the world. Or maybe you just want to drag race the whole way. Whatever you chose, make sure the race you pick has the terrain that matches your goals for the event. Watching total marathon newbies suffer on challenging courses because they didn't know what they were in for isn't fun...and it can be avoided if you do your homework.

#3 -- Conditions: Make sure to research the weather on / around the race date of choice. Do a web search for race reports and forum posts about the event to learn what others have said. A race in Florida in January sounds great, for example, until you realize it's been in the 30s at the start for the past few years. Knowing that the sun beats down on you later in the day, or that the temperature plummets on the other side of the mountain pass will make you a much more informed racer...and lead you to a better overall experience.

#4 -- Logistics: Traveling to your next race sounds cool and exciting until you realize it means passports, international flights, a new language, and random dietary changes pre-race. Don't get me wrong, I am all about adventure. I just want folks to consider just how much bandwidth they have before they pull the trigger on a race that could just be challenging enough so as to suck all the fun out of it.

Picking A Race By Goal Orientation
Now that we have covered the basics, we can afford to look more closely at your overall motivation for the race. Nuturing this passion is critical if you want to train and race to your potential. Despite the higher price tag, you still have a lot to do on your own. Knowing that your race "fits" you will go a long way to making the training both more bearable and effective.

Goal: First Timer
If you are out to pick your first marathon, ever, then I suggest you pick a relatively flat marathon course that will give you plenty of nice warm weather to train in. Warm weather training means more folks on the roads when you are, as well as a higher potential for group training options. It also means less gear to manage and more time to focus on your fitness and overall well being. The course doesn't have to be 100 percent flat, but it should be straightforward. A nice loop course will mean more spectators to keep you going over those last few critical miles.

Goal: Boston Qualification
If your sole focus is on earning your right to try and sign up for the Boston Marathon, your selection process starts with terrain. You'll want a flat and simple course, ideally with two loops. This will allow you so manage your time and effort appropriately and allow you to identify trouble areas before lap two hits.

As a veteran, weather and conditions aren't as important to your decision, as odds are you'll have the gear and the mental fortitude to suck it up should the running weather gods not be smiling on you. You'll also want to check on the finish times for your age group and do some general research to make sure the course you are considering is legitimately a good option for qualifying.

Goal: Inspiration / Travel
If you are out to stay on track with your running but need a fun year, or a massive change of scenery, an international marathon might be just right for you. It will keep you running, but within reason as this isn't about racing--it's about doing. The travel to the race and few days leading up to it will have some stress, but the post-race scenery, cuisine, and culture will more than make up for it. Be sure to research by networking with other runners who have attempted the event...nothing beats the inside scoop!

Goal: Redemption
Maybe you had a bad race last year, or just not the best training buid up. Regardless of the reason, you are back to give it another go. This is both good and bad, as you know the course and what _not_ to do. But it also means you are bringing a lot of negative energy to the table; it can push you a long way but might not get you the full 26.2 miles.

And let's face it, sometimes even the same course can seem different from year to year! To be 100 percent ready for your revenge tour, do a full 360-degree analysis to determine where things went wrong last time. Guaranteed your challenges will be very different this year, but even to have the basics covered will put you a few steps ahead.

There is no such thing as the perfect marathon, but with the right event, a clear set of goals, and the proper marathon training schedule, you'll be well on your way to creating the perfect race experience for you. Good luck!

Marathon Nation is the home of Coach Patrick and his real-world, pace-based marathon training system. Download one of our free resources, find your personal marathon training schedule or join us online to share your training and racing with our growing community of runners. Find more quality articles and video analysis resources online at Marathon Nation:

Training for a marathon? Download our free PDF guide that will walk you through the final, most critical parts of the pre-marathon experience. You can register to download it from Marathon Nation.

Looking to improve your overall running? Download a free copy of our 29 Tips to Transform Your Running eBook.

Active Isolated Stretching

Found this good article on Stretching on; more specifically, related to "active isolated stretching" or assisted stretching.

Active Isolated Stretching
Sue Falsone January 6, 2009

Active isolated stretching (AIS) will help you bolster your flexibility and retain the gains you've made. In AIS, you don't hold a stretch for 10 to 30 seconds as you would in traditional stretching. Instead, you use a rope to gently assist in pulling your muscle a little farther than your body would ordinarily allow. This form of stretching reprograms your brain and your body to remember new ranges of motion, so you see fast improvements in flexibility.

How It Works
To understand how AIS works, try this fast exercise: Curl your arm up without any weight and squeeze your biceps at the top. Now try to flex your triceps. The reason your triceps is mush in this position is because of a scientific principle known as "reciprocal inhibition." Reciprocal inhibition states that the muscle on one side of a joint must relax in order for the opposing muscle to contract, and it's the basis of AIS.

"Often times, people stretch one day only to feel just as tight the next," says Sue Falsone, director of performance physical therapy for Athletes' Performance. But with AIS, Falsone says, you utilize reciprocal inhibition to not only loosen up the opposing muscle, but also increase your range of motion. You won't stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, as you would with traditional stretch-and-hold stretches. Instead, by holding stretches for just a couple seconds, you'll increase your range of motion with each repetition.

By using a rope to assist with the stretch, you can increase your range of motion by 6 to 10 degrees more than without the rope. This is key because it helps reprogram your brain to remember this new range of motion. That way it can remind your muscles the next time you stretch or play or lift weights.

Mind Over Muscle
Mentally you’ve conditioned yourself to believe you can stretch only to a certain point. And most often, you've determined that point because you're weak in a given area or you lack focus. With AIS, you're reprogramming your brain, along with any preconceived notions about your flexibility.

For example, say you’re doing a hamstring stretch. You’re lying on your back with a rope wrapped around one leg. First, you squeeze your quadriceps, hip flexors, and abs. As you squeeze, they contract, and your brain sends a message to your hamstrings telling them to relax. That enables you to gently assist with the rope to pull your hamstrings into a slightly deeper stretch, and it helps to reprogram your brain to recognize that new range of motion.

Since your quadriceps and hip flexors are doing the work, your brain is sending signals to your quadriceps, shutting off the signals to your hamstrings, which want to resist. In a sense, you’re tricking your body, and you're constantly reprogramming it.

When to Do It
If you have a tight back or hamstrings, you might find it valuable to practice AIS every day. It's best performed at the end of a workout or when you have some free time at night or on the weekends.

Coaching Keys
■Move actively through the range of motion and exhale as you gently assist with the rope.
■The rope should add no more than 6 to 10 percent to your range of motion.
■To save time, do the entire series of leg stretches with one leg first, then the other.